Red Light Area

Abhi was fidgeting with his helmet straps. He was late, and the three digits displayed on the timer didn’t make him feel any better. The missed calls from Mini were in double digits now and he knew that his charming smile wouldn’t be of much help.
Abhi was also angry about the fact that his dad couldn’t even keep his shirt ironed in time and his mom made the breakfast he despised the most. This angry reverie was suddenly disturbed by a commotion in the sidewalk.
The eunuchs who ask for money in this signal were trying to instil some semblance of sense into the kids who were having territorial disputes. The kids referred to the eunuchs as Ma and asked them to keep out of it. They were looking at each other waiting for that first strike to happen.
Then this girl came strutting…
The kids moved away from each other to a civil distance and gave her space in the middle… All the mothers then went back clapping to collect whatever they could before the lights turn green.
The Girl then said a few things to the other kids who were probably a year or two younger than her. The ones who ‘obeyed’ went about their jobs of entertaining the bystanders.
There were a few other kids who thought that a 11-12 yr old girl didn’t have any right to tell them what to do. They too went about their jobs once she slapped one kid right across his face.
She then tied her brown and dusty hair in a knot, wiped the creases of her ageing face and then for a second, Abhi’s eyes met with her eyes.
She came running, her whole demeanour changed and she was more of a little girl who probably knew what hunger really meant.

Abhi reached for his wallet. The light turned green and there was that familiar continuous honking from the vehicles behind.
She gave a understanding nod and moved away for the people behind her to speed away to their destinations. She knew this was hers.
Abhi then removed the tear that managed to trickle and wiped it on his well pressed shirt.
He rode leisurely thinking about how the livelihood of most eunuchs and kids here unfortunately were revolved around the red light in one form or another.
Abhi suddenly revved his bike and rode faster…
There was one more missed call.


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